François Bellot: ‘Belgium’s mobility is hostage of the institutional mess’
Belgium’s Mobility Minister, François Bellot (MR), is fed up by the Regions’ inaction toward a better mobility. He thinks the country’s institutional system prevents any global vision to be followed by acts.
Called back to a post of Minister by Belgium’s PM Charles Michel back in 2016, François Bellot was given the task to solve mobility problems in Belgium. From the Brussels’ fly-over problem to the bypassing of major cities and trains punctuality, Bellot had his work cut out of him. But, according to him, the current silence in mobility is due to the ‘institutional mess’.
“After the institutional reforms of 1980 and 1988, each level of power went back to its cave. “In 2002 a cooperation agreement was signed, saying that Ministers should meet regularly in Executive Mobility Committees”, explains François Bellot. “This happened 6 times in 14 years.”
Asked by the Minister to find an interfederal strategy for mobility, the Arthur D Little Bureau pinned 18 themes and actions. Bellot will share the result of this study with other Mobility Ministers.
“We will meet on June 26th. After that, each Minister has to act at his level. I’m offering a vision but the Region that doesn’t want to apply it will have to assume it. It will be its own failure”, adds the Federal Minister.
“I’m not their guardian”
François Bellot is fed up by the Ministers’ inaction, which also damages the Belgian economy. He takes the example of a big foreign investor, who decided to leave Belgium because of the congestion in Antwerp, Brussels and, soon, Liège. “It’s not the job of one Minister alone. When I invite others to meetings and they don’t come, I can’t do much about it”, exasperates Mr Bellot, “I’m not their guardian.”
His solution to all this ‘institutional mess’ would be to create a common pot to be filled by everyone. An agency would therefore be in charge of putting up projects commonly agreed on.
“I’ve tried to understand why in 16 years, twenty Ministers haven’t found a solution”, explains the Mobility Minister about the fly-over issues of Brussels. “We have determined seven elements and offered a solution in July 2017. Everyone agrees it’s a good solution but no one wants to say ‘yes’ first. Still, I’m not giving up.”